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Public Observability of Decisions and Voluntary Contributions in a Multiperiod Context

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Author Info

  • Charles Noussair

    (Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia)

  • Steven Tucker

    (University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand)

Abstract

The authors conduct an experiment to explore whether contributions to a public good increase when public observation of contribution decisions is possible and whether any such increase is durable and transferable. Rege and Telle (2004) find that in one-shot games, public observation of all individuals' contribution decisions leads to higher contributions than would occur in the absence of such observation. In this study, the authors argue that public observation is ineffective in increasing contributions in a repeated game. Indeed, it actually reduces contribution rates relative to a treatment in which contribution decisions are not observable. Furthermore, prior experience with public observability reduces cooperative behavior in subsequent interaction in which decisions cannot be observed. The authors conjecture that approval incentives are more effective in leading to cooperative behavior when sanctioned parties are unable to avoid the expressions of disapproval they receive.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by in its journal Public Finance Review.

Volume (Year): 35 (2007)
Issue (Month): 2 (March)
Pages: 176-198

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Handle: RePEc:sae:pubfin:v:35:y:2007:i:2:p:176-198

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Related research

Keywords: experimental; public goods; informal sanctions;

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Gioia de Melo & Matías Piaggio, 2012. "The perils of peer punishment. Evidence from a common pool resource framed field experiment," Documentos de Trabajo (working papers) 12-16, Instituto de Economia - IECON.
  2. Martinsson, Peter & Pham-Khanh, Nam & Villegas-Palacio, Clara, 2012. "Conditional Cooperation and Disclosure in Developing Countries," Working Papers in Economics 541, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
  3. Samek, Anya & Sheremeta, Roman, 2013. "Recognizing Contributors: An Experiment on Public Goods," MPRA Paper 52921, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Martinsson, Peter & Villegas-Palacio, Clara, 2010. "Does disclosure crowd out cooperation?," Working Papers in Economics 446, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
  5. Alpízar, Francisco & Martinsson, Peter, 2010. "Are They Watching You and Does It Matter? - Evidence from a Natural Field Experiment," Working Papers in Economics 456, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
  6. Andreas Nicklisch & Irenaeus Wolff, 2011. "Cooperation Norms in Multiple‐Stage Punishment," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 13(5), pages 791-827, October.
  7. Daniel Jones & Sera Linardi, 2012. "Wallflowers Doing Good: Field and Lab Evidence of Heterogeneity in Reputation Concerns," Working Papers 485, University of Pittsburgh, Department of Economics.
  8. Bracha, Anat & Vesterlund, Lise, 2013. "How low can you go? Charity reporting when donations signal income and generosity," Working Papers 13-11, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  9. Samak, Anya & Sheremeta, Roman, 2013. "Visibility of Contributors and Cost of Information: An Experiment on Public Goods," MPRA Paper 46779, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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